"He Eats French Dog Food"

photo: almost the whole group photo of the week

Another 'first' - this week's 'Partial Group
Photo of the Week.'

'Foggy In Boullay'

Paris:- Thursday, 12. September 2002:- 'What?' I wonder, 'Is this chilly wind blowing through my place? Has a terrible-weather warning crept up on Paris while I sleep? Is it the big, bad, wolf trying blow my place down?' Or maybe, me out of here?

Gol-darn! Last night's TV-weather news was keeping up its stormy warning for the area near Marseilles. The bushes and plants in my courtyard are thrashing around, twisting on their stems. In the bathroom, the window blows itself and the door open, and the steam - little as there is - flits away.

Outside the grey undersides of clouds are not far above the mobile-phone relay antennas. TV-weather news didn't forecast this. 'The usual morning mists,' is all they said.

Going out for bread, rental-ad papers and café, I see my landlord in the hall. He is a doctor. I ask him if he is on strike. I must be out of my head with the chill and no café yet.

I tell you, last night's TV-weather news forecast said mostly sunny, and warm. I mean, they said 23 degrees.photo: lindas take out Some people might think this is warm, but it is really no more than 18 I think. Feels like 14. Burrrrrr. Good morning, Paris. It is still morning too, just barely.

Linda's wonderful lunch. Note 'on-time' watch on arm.

After getting the bread, the rental-ad paper and having the café, when I get back I go upstairs to see my landlord and apologize for accusing him of being on strike. He says only Americans can be so horrified by strikes. He says he is not on strike today - he gets Thursdays off sometimes. I never noticed this before. I should have my café earlier on Thursdays. Maybe in the mornings.

Tonight's TV-news begins with a new storm warning for the area around Marseilles for Friday. The other night a weather boffin said these storms are common there at this time of year.

The land has gotten cool while the Mediterranean is still warm - at least ten degrees warmer than the land. From the week's earlier storms, 22 have been killed and a bunch more are missing. It's a major mess. Some people still haven't gotten back together after another storm they had there back in 1994.

I am late getting off to the club meeting. Sure enough, on the Rue de Rivoli the sun is starting to come through. I am not going to need all the clothes I've got on.

The Quai du Louvre is semi-deserted. There are whole minutes when no bicycles, roller-folks, cars, trucks, motorcycles or buses are on it. Many of the tables on the café terraces are empty, including the club's café, La Corona.

Because it is so quiet outside there are four members already in the club's area in the café's 'grande salle.' These are Edna and Bob Bradley from Costa Mesa, California, Heather Stimmler-Hall, this club's member number one, and formerly of Scottsdale, Arizona but lately of Antibes, and Linda Thalman, the server-lady.

"The computer server-lady," Linda says, just so nobody thinks she is going to take any orders for drinks. She also says she was a bit behind time, so she brought the rest of her take-away lunch with her. It looks like some sort of tandoori paella.

She also says it was 'foggy in Boullay' in the morning. It's hard to imagine fog at the Cadillac Ranch. Heather says she thinks the city is painting the trees in October colors.

The Bradleys tell me about buying Hovercraft tickets at Charing Cross Road in London, only to find out Hovercraft service stopped two years ago. So they took some other boat-train affair and got to Paris 11.5 hours later.

Not much different from 100 years ago. The trains didn't meet the channel boats then either. But they had a 'Baba Rhum' at the Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon once, and the waiter left the rum bottle on the table - so, somehow, they are 'even' as far as trains that don't meet boats are concerned.

photo: almost whole group, inside

Aside from the news that they can't stay in Paris for more than four weeks because their cat won't allow more, I learn that garages are not used as houses for cars anymore in America. Some people put teenagers in them.

The talk turns to inheritance taxes and Linda says people in France leave their 'Van Goghs' to the state instead of paying cash, and they can borrow them back again when holding parties.

So far the meeting is on its rails. Heather shows Linda how to use the speed-dial function of her portable phone, and Linda tells us how she lost the neat camera I helped her to buy, when she wandered into to a patch of quicksand. Apparently this event wasn't covered by the warranty.

Then the meeting spins out of control with the arrival, in short order, of Beate and Peter Kane from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Right behind them is Joe Fitzgerald from St Louis, Missouri. Before all of them tell me they live in Paris, I put Grand Rapids down as the 'City of the Week.'

This prompts Beate to produce a photo of their dog, Donovan, in some kind of typical October blizzard. "Donovan," she says, "Is thin because he eats French dog food, which is not too easy to get in Grand Rapids."

Peter then tells me about the 'curse' put on Grand Rapids in Michigan territory by the Indians who owned it. Earlyphoto: long table goup traders were only allowed to stay there seasonally. If they stayed longer to live there, they were 'cursed' to stay there forever. Since I am the club's only secretary, I declare that his is the 'Curse of the Week,' as well as a true 'first.'

The look of a club meeting when the house is nearly full.
Continued on page 2...
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